The Master of Arts in History prepares students to work as research historians, to continue in history doctoral programs, or to advance the preparation of history teachers in K-12 education. It is best suited for those seeking a career in an academic-related field. Students in the MA program may choose either the thesis or portfolio option as their culminating activity. The thesis option is recommended for students seeking entrance into a PhD program or into an academic research-and-publication-based career. It is a written exploration of a historical topic, based upon primary source research, which defends an analytical argument that is original and compelling. The topic and scope of the thesis will be determined by the student in consultation with the advisory committee. The portfolio option is recommended for students who teach in the K-12 public school system and/or who do not plan to pursue additional graduate degrees.
The Master of Applied Historical Research gives students the opportunity to combine an existing expertise with the study of history. Possible emphases include public history, urban affairs, the environment, policy studies (local, state, or international), and applied cultural studies. This is a professional degree aimed at those seeking a career in some area of public history (e.g., museums, national parks, archives, government or non-profit research). The applied research project is the culminating activity for the Master of Applied Historical Research. All projects, regardless of the medium, must include a substantial analytical written portion of no less than 5,000 words. The written portion must place the research in appropriate scholarly context. It must demonstrate scholarly competence in writing, research, analysis, and historical documentation
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